HERALD TIMES | PART 2 | 28 FEBRUARY 2016
There is a pair that has been garnering a lot of public attention lately in TvN’s highly rated program “Youth Over Flowers – Africa.” That pair are actors Park Bogum and Ryu Jun Yeol. The two of them moved many people through their heartfelt discussion about their childhood while sitting together in the desert background of Dune 45 watching the sunrise. The pair is attracting a lot of attention particularly because in TvN’s “Reply 1988,” they were rivals in the hunt for Deok Sun’s (Hyeri) husband. This duo will move the viewers to tears by showing us a different type of friendship from that they portrayed in the drama. We wondered how Park Bogum sees Ryu Jun Yeol.
The “husband hunt” this time around was particularly fierce. How did you feel after it was established that Taek is the husband?
I found out because I received the wrong script. I really didn’t think it was true. I thought Deok Sun’s husband was Jung Hwan (Ryu Jun Yeol). I was a little bewildered. I thought, “It can’t be. Is it really me? I guess there wasn’t a twist.”
From Park Bogum’s point of view, what is most attractive about Ryu Jun Yeol?
A scene as laid out in the script may already be quite moving, but hyung has the ability to act out the scene in a way that moves you even beyond the script. I thought, “I must learn a lot [from him]”. He’s also a very affectionate person. Prior to filming, we would often express our affection by sending each other hand hearts. But when we were filming Reply 1988 (EungPal), we were both really absorbed in our respective Jung Hwan and Taek characters so we stopped expressing affection that way. During Youth Over Flowers though, we were able to resume [expressing our affection]. Hyung has leadership. I think he has travelled a lot. From hotel reservations to driving, the hyungs did almost everything. I was very grateful that the hyungs were always taking care of me in the background, without my even noticing it. I was very moved every time the hyungs called out “Bogum-ah”. I felt good.(laugh)
Through the Taek character in Reply 1988 you received a lot of love, more so than anyone else. Are there similarities between the two of you?
I think the writer and the director selected a person who fits well with the character. During the auditions, we had a lot of discussions about the kind of person I am. I later learned that after they cast me as Taek, they modified the character in some ways. Taek and I are most similar in that when we both focus on something, we really focus, and when we are interested in one thing, we both put all our energy into that one thing. We’re also similar in that when we fall for someone, we both fall deeply for that one person. Ah. I never told the writer this so I don’t know if she added this to the drama because she knew about it. I also like milk. (Laugh).
When you were playing Taek, what are the characteristics that you most wanted to express?
I wanted to show the contrast between how he is when he plays baduk and how he is in his regular life. In particular, I wanted to show his maturity and precociousness when he plays baduk. For about three months, I practiced baduk really hard whenever I had some free time. Because my character was based on Master Lee Chang Ho, I even read his book. I also searched for and watched actual baduk match videos. I tried to acquire basic knowledge of baduk and I also tried hard to catch the expressions of professional baduk players. I don’t know if that is the reason, but I got quite ambitious about baduk. I wanted to act in a way such that even real baduk players would think “he plays well.” Actually, it’s a pity because I don’t think I was able to act to that level. (Laugh). The character was also ambidextrous because Master Lee Chang Ho is ambidextrous. It’s a rule of baduk that even if you are left-handed, you must play baduk with your right hand. That is why Taek is also ambidextrous (like Master Lee Chang Ho). I also tried to purposefully speak slowly and unhurriedly. If I were to point to another thing, people who tend to concentrate deeply tend to get startled quite easily when they hear loud sounds. So I tried hard to express that.
Why do you think Reply 1988 has received so much love from the public?
I think it’s thanks to the writer and the director. I hadn’t even been born in 1988 so I didn’t know anything about that period but I was able to feel the sensibilities of the time through reading the script. I was very moved every time I saw it and you can feel the warmth and affection even through just reading the text. Moment to moment to moment, I thought each scene was the best scene. I got really lucky (laugh).
You have met both of TvN’s star directors Shin Won Ho PD and Na Young Seok PD.
They are very warm people and fun to be around. I was amazed when I met Na Young Seok PD for the first time. I was also thankful to appear in a series that one only ever hears about. I think Na Young Seok PD really goes for the natural. He shows it really like it is. They are both funny and fun to be around. They are gentle but also have a lot of charisma. They have the ability to unite people in their thoughts and express it through their actions. I have never seen them get angry. Shin Won Ho PD in particular is like that.
Was your dream originally to be an actor?
When I was a sophomore in high school I thought about what my dream was. I thought about what it was I could do that I could enjoy my work and I thought that since I liked to sing and dance, I wanted to become a singer/songwriter. I sent a demo tape to a big company, but the director of my current company told me to become an actor instead. He told me that “if you become an actor, you could sing an OST track and acting in musicals is also a possibility.” I liked that because I thought it offered many options. Now I am really glad that I became an actor.
So we may listen to Park Bogum’s music someday.
My skills are still not good enough. I don’t even know how to write music properly yet. But even so, sometimes I record melodies that come to me. (Laugh).
Have you chosen your next project? Is there a particular role that you would like to portray?
I am not sure about the next project yet. I’m excited and looking forward to my next project, but it is also true that I feel a heavy weight on my shoulders as well. But this is the work that I wan to do and I want to find a project where I can show a side of myself that even I haven’t discovered yet. Because at the moment, I am in the process of finding out what it is that I can do well.
In the future when you are much older, what is it that you would like to hear about you as an actor?
There are so many things that I would like to hear. But if I had to reduce it to one thing, I would like to hear that “Park Bogum is an actor beside whom I would like to work.” This is a goal for the very distant future, but someday I would like to hear them say that “Park Bogum is a very warm person and an actor who has inspired and been a good influence on many people.”
Please provide some parting words for your fans.
I am very thankful to all the fans who have sent me so much love and who have expressed such an interest in me. I don’t know through what kind of project I will be able to meet them again in future, but in the next project I hope to show them better acting and improve myself more and more. I will also maintain this feeling of gratitude and always try hard to be a grounded person.